Northumberland’s challenge to ditch the booze for Dry January

One in 10 drinkers in the North East and around 4.2 million people in the UK said they were planning to ditch alcohol for Dry January 2019, according to a recent YouGov poll. 
 
Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, and Northumberland County Council are urging friends, families and work colleagues to come together and take on the 2019 Dry January challenge as figures show around 180,000 North East drinkers took part last January.
 
People who take a month off the booze can look forward to feeling healthier, saving money, sleeping better and losing a few pounds. But many Dry January participants also report benefits all year round with more drink free days and drinking less when they do drink.
 
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Drinking can often creep up on people into a daily habit and more than one in four people in the North East are drinking above the guidelines of 14 units a week.
 
“We’re encouraging people to get family, friends and colleagues on board too. It can be a real motivating factor taking on a challenge together and we know that it can make us more likely to succeed.
 
“Every year it feels like more and more people we know are taking part in Dry January. It is a chance to break the feeling of relying on a drink, give our bodies a chance to recover, and to feel fitter. But it is great to see so many people feeling the benefits well beyond January and still drinking less than they were six months on.” 
 
Northumberland County Cllr Veronica Jones, cabinet member for Adult Wellbeing and Health said: “January is the perfect time to make a healthy start to the year ahead.
 
“We’re urging Northumberland residents to have a go at reducing the amount of alcohol they drink and enjoy all the benefits that will bring.”
 
Northumberland County Council’s Director of Public Health, Liz Morgan said: “By going dry for just one month, people can change their relationship with alcohol.
 
“Alcohol is a risk factor for many aspects of poor health like cancer, high blood pressure and depression but there is also an easy way to reduce this risk – reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
 
“This great campaign will again urge people to think about how much they drink and help them to stay off alcohol for a month.  It’s a good way to change drinking habits for the better after the month is over and a really effective way of helping people to do something positive about their own health.”
 
Research by the University of Sussex with over 800 Dry January participants found Dry January participants were still drinking less in August:
- People were taking more Drink Free Days, with drinking days per week dropping on average from 4.3 to 3.3.
- Units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1.
- Frequency of drunkenness fell on average from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month.
- For all of these measures, people who drank more riskily before Dry January saw bigger decreases in the amount and regularity of their drinking – suggesting that Dry January is particularly helpful for heavier drinkers.
 
The research also showed that:
  • 93% of participants had a sense of achievement
  • 88% saved money
  • 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink
  • 80% feel more in control of their drinking
  • 76% learned more about when and why they drink
  • 71% realised they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves
  • 70% had generally improved health
  • 71% slept better
  • 67% had more energy
  • 58% lost weight
  • 57% had better concentration
  • 54% had better skin

People who sign up to Dry January are more likely to make it through to the end of the month without drinking.  You can sign up for Dry January at dryjanuary.org.uk, or by downloading the brand-new app ‘Try Dry: The DryJanuary app’ via the App Store or Google Play. The app allows people to track units, calories and money saved not drinking, plus track their drinking year-round.

 
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